tv Countdown With Keith Olbermann MSNBC July 22, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EDT
to the beautiful ronald reagan international library to tell the great reagan-o'neill story -- the best way i could. that's "hardball" for now. thankses for being with us. "countdown with keith olbermann" starts right now. the decision to sack the official. vindicated at last. >> i kept saying, look at the entire thing. look at my message and no one would listen. >> why did vilsack fire her before all the facts were in? what is andy drew's new defense? >> i asked that person to send
me the relevant clips. >> tonight, david fromme on how the right wing has manipulated the story. how the administration is dealing with race issues. david o'connor on how the administration botched the case and keith olbermann returns for a special comment. gop extreme. the tea party holds its first official caucus in the house these michelle bachmann. are they good ideas for the republican party? all the news and commentary now on "countdown." good evening from new york. i'm lawrence o'donnell in for keith olbermann. the obama administration has spent the last 24 hours jumping through hoops for a right wing blogger considered noncredible even by one fox news anchor and scrambling to undo the
unnecessary damage. our fifth story tonight, when you're falsely vilified and sacked, you've been vilsacked. but tonight, agriculture secretary tom vilsack both apologized to shirley sherrod and asked her to come back to work. >> i've learned a lot of lessons from this experience in the last couple of days. one of the lessons i learned is that these types of decisions require time. i didn't take the time. i should have. and as a result, a good woman has gone through a very difficult period. and i'll have to live with that for a long, long time. vilsack's agency forced sherrod to resign after video was posted where she appeared to recount her thoughts about a white farmer. it was blogger breitbart. he's the same one that brought us the incomplete and fraudulent tapes that smeared the community group a.c.o.r.n. leading fearful democrats to kill funding and kill the group.
more later on the white house role on all of this. breitbart spoke with maura schiavocampo and said, only after the naacp recall the story, he got a tip about sherrod speaking to the naacp in march. >> i sort of forgot about it. and when the naacp started to resurrect the false narrative of the tea party being racist -- when i realized that the naacp was doing this, i knew this story existed and i asked that person to send me the relevant clips. >> the relevant clips, he wanted, not the whole thing. who needs the whole thing. brightbart's attack on the naacp for allegedly making up false claims of racism in the tea party came one day after the tea party federation expelled the
tea party express because of racist remarks by leader mark williams. breitbart today refocused his attack calling the audience and the naacp racist. >> the first one, the controversial one where the racism exists because of the audience reaction and the narrative she plays is it's still newsworthy in and of itself. i'm sympathetic to the fact they went after her and not after naacp to tell them stop it. stop bringing back racism. >> the problem for mr. breitbart as media matters demonstrates tonight, there was no racist reaction from the audience. he then claimed as he did with a.c.o.r.n. to have more supposedly damning videos. >> the naacp -- i believe i can show you more videos, there's a lot of video out there that shows that the naacp countenance is racism and i think more
offensively if anybody goes off of the plantation, as it were, who's an african-american, they're called uncle toms by this group. >> let's bring in david frum, former speechwriter for president george w. bush and columnist for theweek.com. can you help me with his last remark the plantation? what is he trying to say there? >> it's clear. what's so painful is andrew is suggesting you can meet false accusations of racism with false accusations of racism of your own. and that when you come under attack the way you respond for a mistake is not by apologizing but going on further attack. what's so heartrending is that the conservative movement to which andrew breitbart speaks is a movement people who are clamoring for an alternative
path for this country. they want a different path for the way they're leading the country. instead of giving solutions, we're giving them a racial division, fanning animosity needlessly. and it sound like -- it sounds like, i hope it's not true, consciously needlessly. >> now, david, you have written this incident illustrates what you referred to as the closing of the conservative mine. can you explain that? >> the second day narrative that's gripped the conservative world, on july 19 when the story broke, conservatives by and large believed it. there are a few honorable exceptions. by the 20th, the story fell apart. by that point, breitbart issued a second line of defense. this story reflects badly on the president for believing him, reflects badly on the naacp for issuing an apology for believing him. that the news here. and he's kind of a co-victim with ms. sherrod. and the conservative world has fallen in line with this. they concentrated the attack on the administration and not pondered this is a false story here and disseminated the false
story. that makes us a part of the distraction. not saying we have ideas, we have solutions, you want a job? we know how to put you to work. >> i know andrew for a long time. he lives in look as i do. he's emerging as the video manipulator of the right wing of the republican party. how did he become the guy who has taken on the role? >> he's got genius instincts. race is the sore corn of the american body politic. you stomp on it and the cameras come. on our website, we're posting every day comments on what is wrong with the president's financial reform and what's wrong with his preparation. we learn it but we don't get the numbers you get if you take a big block of cement and drop it on the country's deepest wound. >> in developing breitbart edge of the republican party, sarah palin over there, you have rush limbaugh over there for a while. andrew is taking this new
position over there. he's the latest character to emerge over there. how do republicans like yourself -- how do republicans who are trying to advocate actual governing positions get heard amid all of this kind of noise that is actually in no real way relevant to governing the united states? >> first, we have to have the confidence that our followers and our members deserve. i speak to a lot of republican groups. when you talk to them, they're consumed with real concerns and real problems. and they are parched for them. when you give them those things, they respond. we just have to keep doing a better way. this is working now in these times of pain. and, you know, look, it's always going to be exciting. but you can't govern this way. when the republican party does the self-examination saying, gee, how is it we are unable to attract minority voters? why is it we have so much trouble with women? as lucrative as it seems in the short term, they exact a big
long-term price. >> david frum, columnist at theweek.com. thanks for joining us, david. >> thank you. now let's bring in msnbc contributor melissa harris-lacewell associate professor of politics and african-american studies at princeton and a columnist for "the nation." good evening, melissa. i don't quite get why this vilification of shirley sherrod was so completely successful so very, very quickly before anyone knew the truth. how did this move so fast? >> well, i think it's simply because of the vilification of black women for sport and for political gain has been sort of a basic part of the american political strategy for both the republican and democratic parties for a couple of decades now. it certainly began with ronald reagan's attempt to blame the majority of the economic problems of the 1980s on the mythical welfare queen who was somehow stealing from government coffers.
but it continued in the clinton administration when bill clinton as a candidate made an unprovoked attack on sista soulja who would be a centrist democrat who wouldn't be beholden to race issues. it continued when he turned his back on the law school friend in lonnie gweniere. for me, this is not surprising but it is painful to watch again in this administration how easy it is to assume that an african-american woman deserves to be vilified. >> was it easier? is it possible it was easier? was there something unique about the story that made it so combustible. a black woman working in the administration of a black president? >> possibly. i've got to say my particular sort of anger and the thing that has been keeping me up since last night has been directed
toward the naacp. because the fact is what, you know, to me sort of the piece that is the match on this is how quickly ben jealous, someone who i respect, who i like personally, whose presidency of the naacp is something i have supported and defended and yet he seems to have lacked an understanding of who this woman was. her last name sherrod should have immediately caused him to say wait a minute. there is another sherrod family, in fact, she is the wife of charles sherrod, someone who is a founder of student nonviolent coordinating committee who has a deep history in southern organizing around interracial issues, i mean, to say her last name alone should have prompted for the head of the naacp an immediate moment of pausing and my gosh, just bother to google and to get information so the fact it was not only the right wing and not only an administration, but that the
very organization that should have known enough history to have immediately come to her defense instead attempted to publicly shame her and distance themselves from her, i see that as a key element in what happened here. >> and they did do a corrective faster than the administration did. julian bond was on this network, on this program last night, calling specifically on the administration to change their minds about this and reinstate her as they have now done. now andrew brightbart's mission seems to be to prove all prejudicial feelings are equal and anyone who harbors any prejudicial feelings has no right to accuse anyone else of having prejudice. david frum suggested he is trying to make a game of moral equivalence with racism? >> it reminds me of the 2004 film "crash." when i first heard this story
breaking, i thought, this sounds like that film to me. if you'll remember in that film the first act of horrifying racism occurs when the white police officer puts his hand up an african-american woman's dress. a sexual assault on her. in a scene right after that we see a black woman bureaucrat refusing government public services to this police officer's aging father. the idea in that film and, of course, not just the movie was made and we embraced it as a country and felt so good about awarding it the oscar, this idea that a police officer and sort of a low-level bureaucrat are all the same. all prejudice is equal. this is the thing that exactly what the naacp is moved to do, is to explain that it is structural racism that matters, not just momentary sort of lapses of prejudice, even if that tape had been true it still would not be an equivalency to
jim crow, slavery and institutional racism. >> melissa harris-lacewell, thanks for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, despite today's positive developments the fact remains the sherrod case has been mishandled from the very start. why did the administration fire her first, ask questions later? and later, michele bachmann's tea party and she'll caucus if she wants to. stay with us. nationwide insurance, let me hear it. i've never had an accident. is there anything you can do for me ?
he said this afternoon that the buck stops with him, as it should. but that shouldn't put a stop to questions about what went wrong. it all started when he asked for the relevant clips of video. that's enough to bring keith back tonight for a special comment. she said the tea party caucus would only be listening ear to the tea party and nothing more. don't the tea partiers expect her to actually do something like maybe cut taxes?
decisions were made in haste, action was taken without all the facts. i'm not describing the right wing's rush to judge shirley sherrod but the botched handling of her case by the obama administration. in our fourth story, why was she fired first and questions asked later. first a timeline. ms. sherrod said she received a series of phone calls from usda undersecretary cheryl cook who reportedly told sherrod the department wanted her immediate resignation because the flap was going to be on glenn beck tonight.
sherrod said she wasn't allowed to explain herself. she had to pull over the side of the road and submit her resignation via blackberry. as for tom vilsack's follow-up, disregarding the actual context of ms. sherrod's remarks vilsack said the controversy compromises sherrod's ability to do her job. today robert gibbs offering ms. sherrod an apology on behalf of the administration adding that the media as well as government officials acted without all the facts. at a news conference mr. vilsack saying he only saw a partial transcript of miss sherrod's remarks before making his decision to fire her. first speaking to the several exchanges ms. sherrod had with ms. cook and on solving the white house. >> first of all, i indicated to
shirley my personal regret and my responsibility for the fact that she received multiple phone calls. that's, again, a problem that i could have corrected if i had done this job properly. having said that, there was no pressure from the white house here. this was my decision. >> joining me is the washington bureau chief for "mother jones" magazine and columnist for politics daily, david corn. no pressure from the white house. none at all. the white house said the administration acted without all the information. they've admitted that. why were they so eager to pull the trigger on this one? >> well, i think they were running scared. not the white house per se, but the ag department, tom vilsack and cheryl cook. i take shirley sherrod at her word when they said we have to get you to resign because this is going to be on glenn beck. when you let your ideological enemies like glenn beck define the terms you have lost big
time. if you don't stand up for your people when they are being pummelled by glenn beck and bill o'reilly and sean hannity, you don't have a spine. that is what made obama administration supporters ill at ease and sick in their stomach, how quickly they moved to cut off someone who might have led to a bad spot on glenn beck. there was no basis for that bad spot eventually. >> now, are you buying the vilsack line no pressure from the white house? i mean, since when on racial politics and a hot one like this would an administration leave it to, oh, the guys at the ag department to figure out what to do? >> there might have been some contact. someone talked about a white house liaison talking to the ag department. i believe political appointees
at the ag department being mainly motivated by politics, not necessarily the right thing to do, thought they wanted to cut the bleeder off and show to the white house how they take care of things in their department. there is a lot of overeagerness there. we do know vilsack yesterday afternoon after it was becoming clear that shirley sherrod had been totally set up and had done nothing wrong, he was still releasing statements saying because of this controversy we can't have anyone like that out there. which again was a shameful statement to make. you are ceding power to your enemies if they raise a fuss about someone falsely you have to cut them off. >> how are vilsack and the administration doing with a mop up with a situation like this? i can't think of a situation that the administration has been in like the before.
starting with the apology to shirley sherrod. >> so far, so good. vilsack was indeed contrite. robert gibbs at his press conference had a heartfelt apology. he wouldn't answer all the questions. people asked about some of the contacts after the dismissal between the white house and the ag department. he didn't go into a lot of details on that. they are not being completely transparent. they realize they screwed up big time on both sides, at the white house and at the ag department. they sincerely want to make good, make shirley sherrod as whole as possible and get on. what i find a little bit hard to believe is they have no pushback whatsoever against the fact that she was the victim of a right wing smear that was mounted quite purposefully. there are media and partisan players out there who are targeting the white house, this administration for their own ideological ends. that is fine. they are doing it with false information and there seems to
be no sort of recognition or indignation about that in the administration. >> now vilsack met with the congressional black caucus and they pointed out the agriculture department never fired any of the people responsible for years of discrimination against black farmers. usda had to reach two separate billion-dollar settlements in 1999, again this year. this is a, you know, for him to walk into a meeting like that with the black caucus knowing this history, what can he possibly say to them? >> i'm really sorry. i mean, i don't know. oddly enough or ironically enough that is part of his defense. you know, he and the white house have said because of this awful history at the u.s. department of agriculture in terms of racism against native americans, hispanic and black, african-american farmers they
were highly sensitive, highly attuned to this issue so they overreacted when any racist tainted charge came up in this case. i'm sure he tried to use that partly in his defense. he has nothing but a lot of i'm really sorry to say to shirley sherrod, the black congressional caucus and to americans who care about truth and honesty in government and the media. >> david corn of "mother jones" magazine, many thanks. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, michele bachmann's inaugural tea party caucus meeting. possibly more notable for is who wasn't there than who was. later, keith is here with a special comment on shirley sherrod and the assassins of the right who tried to bring her down. this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide.
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coming up on "countdown" -- what's good for michele bachmann's tea party caucus might not be good for the republican party. just ask john boehner. later, keith's special comment on shirley sherrod and the enablers of the left who didn't bother to seek the truth. woman: welcome to the conference. here's your nametag, sir... annnd for you. gecko: uh... no i'll be ok, thanks. woman: but how will people know who you are? gecko: uh... you mean "the gecko"? woman: here lemme help you. gecko: really it's... really it's fine, (laughs) yeeaahhhh.
thanks to michele bachmann republican lawmakers in the house can no longer have it both ways. and congressman michele bachmann they can thank for that. in our third story, bachmann has formed the tea party caucus and her colleagues are already splitting over whether or not to join. the tea party caucus' first
meeting was held today followed by a rousing news conference comprised of six congressional members of the tea party caucus as well as local tea party activists. the founder of the caucus explained its purpose. >> so we decided to form a tea party caucus for one very important purpose. to listen to the concerns of the tea party. what we are not. we are not the mouthpiece of the tea party. we are not taking the tea party and controlling it from washington, d.c. i am not the head of the tea party nor are any of these member of congress the head of the tea party movement. the people are the head of the tea party movement in all of their form. >> other speakers included tea party activists, one african-american woman said we are not terrorists. we are not racists. other activists tried to portray the movement as mainstream while another speaker compared
president obama to venezuelan president hugo chavez saying "it is no longer a bloody war, it is an ideological war." evidently her plans to form a caucus caught most of her colleagues by surprise, since she did not even warn them she was planning to form the caucus. her spokesman saying "it was something we were doing on our own. ultimately, we just pulled the trigger." today congresswoman bachmann's list boasts three dozen house members out of 178 lawmakers. the tea party caucus includes congressman mike pence, who as chairman of the house republican conference is the third ranking house republican also joining nrcc chairman pete sessions, flaky congressman dan burton, congressman pete hoekstra and congressman joe "you lie" wilson of south carolina.
house minority leader john boehner has declined. at least congressman boehner cited he is not a member of any caucus other than the house republican conversation. and congressman eric cantor the number two house republican has declined. his excuse was the beauty of the tea party movement was that it is organic and certainly not of washington. let's bring in the washington editor of the nation and msnbc contributor chris hayes. good evening, chris. i'm not sure you can talk about this because you are the washington editor and the tea party is not of washington. not at all. >> i'd like to think i'm in washington but not of washington. that is what i aim to be. >> you are a michele bachmann when it comes to washington. >> that's right.
>> is this a good day for the republican party there is a new caucus with 36 members in it and the rest of the caucus desperately worried whether they should be in it? >> it is interesting. it is calling a bluff in a certain way at least at the level of labels and optics. the house republican caucus is already extremely, extremely idealogically far right. that has been looked at by political scientists, mapped with this metric of where people fall. it has moved to the right. in fact the smaller it has gotten, the more it shifted to the right. this is in some ways putting a name of what has already been the case. the far right is in center of gravity in the house. >> grover norquist anti-tax is a unanimous agreement of republican congressional members to sign that thing. the tea party strikes me as another possible certification that republicans can get to prove their pure right wingedness. only 36 out of 178 is either not
a good start for the tea party or a problem for the people who aren't in it going forward. which way is this going to play? >> that is the interesting thing. a, is how rigid entry is going to be. b, whether it becomes a political benefit in districts particularly in primaries. if they get involved in primaries have a negotiating incumbents and challengers, et cetera. the interesting thing to see is is this going to be another hustle. what i mean by that is it is easy to be the revolutionaries in the minority. we remember the republican revolution of 1994. i was reading over the contract today. term limits quickly fell by the wayside. the story the republicans tell about what happened to the class of '94 and people like bob ney, who ended up in jail. we came to change washington and washington changed us. there is nothing structurally
different of the conservative coalition and the house republican caucus then there is now. if they are in power they will vote to expand the deficit, increase funding for the military, cut taxes for the wealthy, the entire agenda we know. >> michele bachmann was ecumenical. she invited democrats to join. doesn't have to be a partisan caucus. any democrats going to be tempted? >> walt minnick, a democrat from idaho, probably the most conservative democrat. ultimately, no. in the same way there are no republicans in progressive caucuses. this will be the far right caucus in the republican party. it is putting a name on something that existed beyond it. if they want to, like, take on their own party on issues. they want to sign a pledge saying we won't vote for anything that will increase the deficit. i would love to see that. you can't vote for wars
unfunded, vote to push through massive tax cuts. i would love them to pledge on that. >> chris hayes of "the nation" and msnbc and definitely of washington. thanks for your time tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up on "countdown" -- keith takes andrew breitbart to task and he is not the only target of a very special special comment. when rachel joins you, the intimidation aspect of the sherrod scandal with pulitzer prize winning columnist eugene robinson.
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the coast guard admiral leading the response says they'd have to take the cap off before they go. they could be gone for as long as two weeks. today's possible good news, engineers might have the first relief tunnel completed by this weekend. if they don't have to leave first. on the other side of this break, as promised, keith takes over with a special comment on the many forces that all conspired to bring down a usda official who did nothing to deserve it. stay with us.
with my thanks to lawrence o'donnell and my staff, as promised my special comment on the witch hunt against shirley sherrod and those who made it possible. october 15, 1894, a jingoistic french man stepped on to the minister of war in paris. he was told he was attending a review. he was still not suspicious even as another man slammed a hand on his shoulder and arrested him for treason. he was convicted, stripped of military rank, sent to a fortress in guyana. he was utterly and totally innocent. all the evidence was fabricated, some stitched together with the parts that would have exonerated him edited out. religious fervor gripped his country and his ethnic group was in the minority at the time the majority was trying to paint that minority evil and bigoted against the majority. those in government who knew his
innocence stayed silent in a foolish and ill-fated attempt to govern on behalf of all the people, those in the press who did not grab at the circulation and the profits that the hatred and scapegoating would bring them were chased out of the country. it would be five years before the man was pardoned, 11 before he was exonerated and restored to active service. his name was captain alfred dreyfus and the fortress was devil's island. how far we have come. we can pull a dreyfus faster than the french could in 1894. 82 days until they sent him to devil's island. we did it to shirley sherrod in 48 hours. we, the fools of the right, the whole of the cowering media, this network included, the whole of the government, self-defeating above it all president included.
a by product of which we can ruin somebody's life. the real truth will emerge at the same lightning speed if we are lucky. no matter how much of a stretch it is to compare sherrod to dreyfus, mistake it not she has been to her own devil's island. thanks to the perpetual fraud machine that is fox news and the scum that is breitbart, a portion of this country, the hateful, the racist who whom she is forever convicted and imprisoned. i have sat behind this desk and pushed back at these counterfeit journalists as a man might push down the tide. i have been branded a idealog and profiteer. and a mirror image of that which i am asailing. i have said in every way i could think of and have been told i am over the top because i mocked and shouted and repeated and today the proof lies in front of you bleeding. the reputation of shirley
sherrod, a woman who 24 years ago saw and overcame the vengeance in her own heart, achieved the true greatness the rest of us might hope to express for one moment in the whole of our lives, a reputation assassinated by fox news, assassinated by that scum breitbart, assassinated by meager brain imitators on other channels and websites, their limp fellow travelers who never asked questions but shot and shot and shot and shot and laughed. let me make this utterly clear. what you see on fox news, what you read on right wing websites is the utter and complete perversion of journalism and can have no place in a civilized society. it is words crashed together never to inform, only to inflame. it is a political guillotine. it is the manipulation of reality to make the racists seem benevolent and convict the
benevolent as racists if her words are stripped of context, rearranged and falsified to do so. what you see on fox news is a manipulation, not just of a story, not just on behalf of a political philosophy, manipulation of a society. it is intentional redirection from reality and progress to a paranoid delusion and the fomenting of hatred of americans by americans and nearly every last word of it is never in any tangible sense true. ask shirley sherrod. but this evil has not become institutionalized just because of the hard soulless work of rupert murdoch and the scum breitbart. our society has not bought into this 24 hour parade of feces dressed up as news because of a clever marketing plan. the assassins on the right have been enabled on the left. the apologies are nice. they provide a thin line of self-respect but only a thin
one. the legitimate media did not look at the whole videotape, the doctored clip did not seem to be leading up to a however, we didn't even today when this network let this pornographer of propaganda spew his lies and his venom and fraudulent obviously false self-defense like a quack doctor attending a life-or-death surgery we didn't once consider a source. we are appalled by her actions said the naacp. she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race. benjamin jealous didn't ask the farmer if ms. sherrod had saved his farm. we have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at usda. this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustice. tom vilsack didn't look at the whole videotape. didn't first ask if the event took place when miss sherrod
worked for usda not 24 years ago. we could have waited all day. we could have had a media circus said the deputy chief of staff at the white house. but we took decisive action and it's a good example of how to respond in this atmosphere. jim mussina didn't ask if the decisive action might have been like sending dreyfus to devil's island. it is a good example of how to respond in this atmosphere, this atmosphere. this atmosphere exists because the people around him let this president be dumbed down. the question used to be fire it up, the rhetorical question, ready to go. the question now is fired it up. the answer is not ready because we can't afford the position of looking insufficiently presidential and providing a media circus.
to paraphrase james wath, mr. mussina and mr. emanuel remodeling this president to be electable in 2012, let obama be obama. and that advice must be heeded above one man above all others. can you give us some specifically some things he said that would help us mr. gibbs was asked at this afternoon's press briefing? well, again mr. gibbs replied, i think he talked about the fact that -- that -- that a disservice had been done here and an injustice had happened. he was quoting you, mr. president. fired up? a disservice has been done? fired up. an injustice had happened. mr. president, it is beyond
admirable that in your position and at this time of fearful division in this country you view yourself as president of everyone not as your predecessor only of the president of just those who voted for you. you must come to terms while you have spent this first 18 months bending over backwards for these other people, they have spent this time insisting you are not actually president or you are a communist or bent on destroying whatever is starring this week in the paranoid fantasies churned up by fox news and the farcical breitbart. if only for the arrogance of the irony this crusade to prove you a foreign influence is led by an australian named murdoch and his sons who pretend to be british and his second largest shareholder of saudi arabia. just for that, you, sir, must stand up to this attack on you and this nation. their game plan is transparent. they can strand together all the forces of anti-black racism in
this country, direct them at you and all for which you and this nation stand and convince the unwashed and unthinking out there not only are they not racist, but you, you, barack obama and van jones and shirley sherrod, you are the real racists and so in opposing you they are not expressing the worst vestige of our past, they are standing up against it. as you stay silent and neutral and everybody's president they are convincing racists they are the civil right leaders and you are police chief bull connor. and some idiot at fox news barks and your people throw an honorable public servant under the bus as a correct way to respond in this atmosphere. mr. president, please, stop trying to act every minute like a noble neutral figure sharing equal minds and contemplative scholars. it is a freaking war out here
and the imagined consensus you seek is years in the future if ever to be are discovered in this country. this false consensus has gotten us the crucifixion of van jones and the racist buffoon speaking from the lincoln memorial on the 47th anniversary of dr. king's speech and now it has gotten us shirley sherrod and your answer is to note a disservice and injustice. sir, get a copy of "the american president." when you get to the line where he says i was so busy keeping my job i forgot to do my job. hit the rewind button. 20 times. fire it up. fire it up. anybody? anybody? lastly, ms. sherrod, i've got no business speaking on behalf of the people of the united states. that's the president's job. i don't know why he hasn't done this yet so i'm going to.
we would like to apologize to you and ask you to return to work on our behalf or make you secretary of agriculture or white house chief of staff. the president could use you tonight. i want to thank you for being honorably and quietly an outstanding american. long ago there was harm done to you. you responded as nearly all of us on this planet would have. one day 24 years ago you realized you were not ending that harm just passing it along through vengeance and blindness. you stopped not with fanfare or self-agrandizing tears or publicized rehab or on a political stage, you just stopped and then you rejoined the righteous who occupy every corner of our great nation and politician and in hour of undeserved trial and abuse of your devil's island you have maintained your dignity and your honor. only one of us in all of this in the mount of angst and the